Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Odds Remain A Strong Bet Next Year
When it comes to the Boston Bruins’ prospects for the coming 2019-20 season, the bookmakers seem to like their long-term chances better than the short-term.
New odds released by 888Sport peg the Bruins in a second-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs as best bets to win the Stanley Cup (+1300). Funny thing is, Boston is rated only third to win the Atlantic Division, at +300 - behind Tampa Bay (+100) and Toronto (+295).
Under the ongoing NHL playoff format, that means the bookies would still take Boston over Toronto in a first-round series if that’s how the regular season finishes in the Atlantic, as No. 2 Toronto would play No. 3 Boston in the first round. The Bruins, who blew a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals to St. Louis, have eliminated Toronto the previous two seasons in the playoffs.
Why Bruins Remain A Strong Bet
No doubt it’s been a long summer for Bruins players, who seemingly had their second Cup within the last eight years in hand after going up 3-2 in the Finals against the Blues and home-ice advantage in a Game 7. But the goal-scoring dried up and the Blues just made the bigger plays in a Game 7 shocker at TD Garden. For a Massachusetts kid such as defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who returned from a concussion to play Game 7, the memories are, indeed, still fresh.
“I think that’s something that will never go away, but I try to deal with it just on the fly I guess,” Grzelcyk told Boston Hockey Now. “At this point, I’m just trying to use it as motivation for next season, but it certainly still stings. I still think about it a lot, but there’s nothing you can do to change the past. You just have to keep working hard for next year and hopefully get a different result.”
Young, hungry players such as Grzelcyk are one good reason why the Bruins should again be a strong bet to advance deep into the playoffs. Boston has some age on the roster (Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron) but there is enough young talent around them for another strong season.
Window May Be Closing Fast Though
The Bruins’ prospect pool doesn’t get very high marks from the pundits. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman recently pegged Boston at No. 29 in the 31-team league as far as qualities of organizational prospect talent. With Bergeron getting up there in years (34) and Chara likely entering his final season, not to mention 30-something guys such as David Krejci, David Backes and even goalie Tuukka Rask not getting any younger, this coming season might be Boston’s last, best chance at a Cup for a while.
Tuukka Rask ranked No. 5 on NHL Network's Top 10 Goalies list. Agree? Disagree? pic.twitter.com/AOzFN0RpaS— NESN (@NESN) August 26, 2019
General manager Don Sweeney made a bad free-agent signing in the 2016 acquisition of the now-35-year-old Backes ($6 million cap hit this year and next) but otherwise, Sweeney has done a pretty good job of managing his salary cap. Boston currently has about $7.3 million of space under the cap, though much of that could go to the still-unsigned restricted free agent Charlie McAvoy.
Bottom line: Betting on the Bruins still looks like a money-making idea for the season. They’ll be on a mission all year trying to make up for that awful Game 7 in June, and a hungry, desperate hockey team is always a good thing to bet upon.